In late 2010, the St. Louis County Department of Health signed a $545,000 contract with Saint Louis University for the services of Tobacco Free St. Louis, a 5o1c3 nonprofit anti-smoking organization based on its campus. Please find the scope of work for this contract attached.
In exchange for $545,000, Tobacco Free St. Louis agreed to:
"Develop and implement an education and advocacy plan to educate St. Louis County Council members about the need to remove exemptions for St. Louis County's current smoke-free ordinance, which becomes effective in January, 2011.
By January, 2012, amend St. Louis County's current smoke-free ordinance to induce all workplaces, restaurants and bars."
Yet according to a statement today by Tobacco Free St. Louis Director Charlie Gatton, "Tobacco Free St. Louis (TFSTL) is a volunteer organization. Money comes from dues and fund-raising, such as the annual Trivia Night event. It IS NOT funded by the CDC grant."
If Director Gatton is right and Tobacco Free St. Louis has received no money from St. Louis County's CDC grant, then where did the $545,000 actually go and what has it been used for? $545,000 is a lot of money and should be accounted for.
Also, members of the Tobacco Free St. Louis Board of Directors have in the past week begun directly lobbying and publicly pressuring St. Louis County Councilmen at Council hearings, as well as in print, on the radio and on television, to revise existing legislation in violation of 501c3 lobbying rules. I have no desire to ever stifle free speech, but those who directly lobby lawmakers should pay taxes on their funds as do ordinary citizens seeking legislation change. http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=163392,00.html
Letter just sent to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels concerning drunk driving deaths and a possible Indiana smoking ban:
Dear Governor Daniels,
Research from the University of Wisconsin has warned that strict smoking bans (ones that include bars) cause an increase in drunk driving fatalities. Please find this research attached. Researchers conclude:
"Using geographic variation in local and state smoke-free bar laws in the US, we observe an increase
in fatal accidents involving alcohol following bans on smoking in bars that is not observed in places
without bans. Although an increased accident risk might seem surprising at first, two strands of
literature on consumer behavior suggest potential explanations—smokers driving longer distances to
a bordering jurisdiction that allows smoking in bars and smokers driving longer distances within
their jurisdiction to bars that still allow smoking, perhaps through non-compliance or outdoor
seating. We find evidence consistent with both explanations. The increased miles driven by drivers
wishing to smoke and drink offsets any reduction in driving from smokers choosing to stay home
following a ban, resulting in increased alcohol-related accidents. This result proves durable, as we
subject it to an extensive battery of robustness checks."
Governor Daniels, Kansas imposed a strict smoking ban in 2010 and saw its number of drunk driving deaths soar 36 percent.
The same thing could happen in Indiana if any smoking ban passed does not exempt "over 21" establishments. Please avoid this loss of life by exempting "over 21" establishments as does the current Tennessee smoking ban. Please find the Tennessee smoking ban attached.
Keep St. Louis Free is a group that fights to protect the personal freedoms and property rights of St. Louisans from dumb government intervention and harassment. We are willing to help anyone in St. Louis whose freedom and property rights are threatened. We have worked to protect property owners from eminent domain abuse and strongly support the gun rights of St. Louisans. But we have had our greatest success during the past 7 years defending the freedom and property rights of St. Louis City and County business owners from an unjustified smoking ban.
Keep St. Louis Free works to elect and support political leaders who respect the freedoms and property rights of St. Louis citizens.
If you care about St. Louis freedom and property rights, please join. We have fought against all sorts of unjust and irrational theft and restriction by government in St. Louis over years. Our campaign really began with a protest against the taking by St. Louis University head Fr. Biondi of our beloved music venue 20North back in 1999. Though many of our members have a special dislike for smoking bans and a reputation for defeating them, YOU DON"T HAVE TO OPPOSE SMOKING BANS TO JOIN!
My family has lived in St. Louis since the 1840's. I got interested in defending St. Louis freedoms and property rights from dumb government intervention after Father Biondi and the St. Louis Board of Alderman took away my friend's bar, 20 North, just after I had restored its exterior, to tear it down and plant grass. I started "Keep St. Louis Free!" to fight Kurt Odenwald's attempt to put a smoking ban on bars in St. Louis County. I don't want my kids to smoke but I also don't want them to grow up in a country, or a city, where it is illegal for a man to smoke a cigar in a bar. City officials should always err on the side of freedom and property rights.
Contact me at: